A social media account provides a good way for enterprises to promote their business. It helps organizations in generating huge amounts of data about their audience in real-time. This includes knowing the behavior of their audience on their products or services. In other words, it helps organizations obtain the essential information required to make smarter business decisions.
Moreover, today, all major social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook offer analytics that gives an insight into people interacting with your page or account. This helps businesses in tailoring their strategy to better communicate with their audience.
But two questions come up here:
- Is it safe for an organization to have a social media account?
- Will it harm their business in the long run?
The answer to these questions will be “Yes”. If your business account or page is not secure against cyber criminals then you have a very high chance of getting your account compromised. That can even end up jeopardizing everything you have built. From losing your clients to facing a disastrous lawsuit, the consequences can be very damaging for your business’ reputation.
Here are some of the recent cyber incidents that exemplify my point:
LinkedIn Data Leak
In a recent cyber security incident, the personal data of 500 million LinkedIn users was posted for sale on a popular hacker forum, according to CyberNews. The leaked data includes account IDs, full names, email addresses, workplace information, and links to social media accounts of users.
The publisher of the information which forms two-thirds of LinkedIn’s global user base is also providing 2 million records as a proof sample.
To see if your email address or phone number has been exposed, you can check in “Have I Been Pwned?”
According to the report, users on the hacker forum can view the leaked samples by paying as little as $2 worth. However, the publisher is asking for at least a 4-digit sum, presumably in bitcoin for the complete 500 million user database.
According to the statement from LinkedIn “This was not a LinkedIn data breach, and no private member account data from LinkedIn was included in what we’ve been able to review.”
“Any misuse of our members’ data, such as scraping, violates LinkedIn terms of service. When anyone tries to take member data and use it for purposes LinkedIn and our members haven’t agreed to, we work to stop them and hold them accountable.”
Facebook Data Breach
Ironically, the news of the LinkedIn data leak came out just days after Facebook, a similar giant social media platform, suffered another data breach.
As mentioned in our previous blog, the personal data of more than 500 million Facebook users globally was published on a low-level hacking forum for free on 3rd April 2021.
Facebook has confirmed to have suffered a data breach and it affected more than 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries worldwide. The exposed data includes more than 32 million users from the US, 11 million of the users from the UK, and 6 million users from India.
According to a Facebook spokesperson, the exposed data is “old data” and it was leaked because of the vulnerability that was patched by the organization back in 2019.
“A database of that size containing the private information such as phone numbers of a lot of Facebook’s users would certainly lead to bad actors taking advantage of the data to perform social engineering attacks [or] hacking attempts” — Alon Gal, CTO of a cyber crime intelligence firm
How Can Organizations Secure their Social Media Accounts?
We have not even completed half of the year, however, several data breaches have already made headlines. So, the question arises, how do we protect our social media accounts from cyber criminals?
Notably, social media accounts are also known as the face of the organization. It is used for advertising products and services along with establishing a brand reputation by enterprises. However, if a hacker can get hold of it, then they can use it for promoting unwanted content or even spread unwanted messages.
According to Meltwater:
- The number of social media users in Qatar is 2.83 Million in January 2020
- Social media penetration in the UAE stood at 99% in January 2020
- The number of internet users in Saudi Arabia increased by 4.3 million between 2019 and 2020
So, it is critical for an organization to implement the best cyber security practices and keep the accounts secured against cyber security risks. Here are some tips your organization can implement:
- Monitor Social Media Presence
Always lookout for what’s happening on all the social media accounts of your organization. If you see any unusual activity, report it immediately to the IT security team and concerned authorities.
- Limit Access
Always limit access to only a few concerned employees. The fewer the number of persons accessing the organization’s social media accounts, the better. This will help your organization easily controlling the social media posts and also avoid any deliberate attempts of the breach.
Always watch out for the latest updates. Software and applications including social media applications come with the latest security features and patches that need to be fixed. You can also inform your organization’s social media handler to keep the auto-update on for all the applications to not miss any updates.
- Strong Password
Enforce a strong password policy. It is your passwords that serve as the first line of defense when it comes to protecting your social media accounts. A strong password should be a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters along with symbols and numerical. You can also opt for a password manager for this purpose. Additionally, adopt multi-factor authentication to add extra layers of security to the account.